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Proof-texting

19 Oct

How can people have such different interpretations of Scripture? What is it that has us seeing things through different lenses?

The following is an excerpt from Facing the Proof Text Method by Henry Neufeld.  The article is a useful introduction to the use of how small pieces of text are used in an attempt to have the reader believe exactly what the speaker would have you believe.

I suggest that the use of proof-texts is a manifestation of laziness and the desire to get something for nothing.People do not wish to spend the time firmly grounding their understanding in what various Bible writers actually teach. They would much rather have a short list of texts that support precisely what they have decided to believe anyhow. Thus, the use of proof-texts tends toward hypocrisy. To the uninformed, the purveyor of proof-texts can appear to be wonderfully informed and a deep scholar of the Bible. In fact, the result of reliance on proof-texts is a moral certainty and overbearing arrogance that is not supported by one’s study or learning.

But first let me define what I mean by proof-texting. By proof-texting I mean the use of individual scripture texts to produce apparent support for a doctrinal position without adequate regard for the contexts of the individual texts which may indicate differences and nuances.

Read the full article here.

At the risk of using my own proof-texting, I have included the following excerpt from Pr Greg Lockwood’s rebuttal of women’s ordination,which is an interesting appeal to common sense to read the ‘specific text’ (proof-text).

8.  If we want to settle a doctrinal issue, we go to the specific texts that deal with the issue. This is only common sense.  If we want to know how to change the wheel on our car, we don’t open the manual to the pages dealing with the electrical system.  We cannot just appeal to “the Gospel” while ignoring its clear statements on a woman’s role in the church.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome.

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Posted by on October 19, 2010 in Hermeneutics

 

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